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taught them how to provide for many of the wants with which they were surrounded.
2. The Indians were then strong, and we were weak; and, without looking at the change which has occurred in any spirit of morbid affectation, but with the feelings of an age accustomed to observe great mutations in the fortunes of nations and of individuals, we may express our regret that they have lost so much of what we have gained. The prominent points of their history are before the world, and will go down unchanged to posterity.
3. In the revolution of a few ages, this fair portion of the continent, which was theirs, has passed into our possession. The forests, which afforded them food and security, w here were their cradles, their homes, and their graves, have disappeared, or are disappearing, before the progress of civilization.
4. We have extinguished their council-fires, and ploughed up the bones of their fathers. Their population has diminished with lamentable rapidity. Those tribes that remain, like the lone column of a falling temple, exhibit but the sad relics of their former strength; and many others live only in the names which have reached us through the earlier accounts of travellers and historians.
5. The causes, which have produced this physical desolation, are yet in constant and active operation, and threaten to leave us, at no distant day, without a living proof of Indian sufferings, from the Atlantic to the immense desert which sweeps along the base of the Rocky Mountains. Nor can we console ourselves with the reflection, that their physical condition has been counterbalanced by any melioration in their moral condition. We have taught them neither how to live, nor how to die.
6. They have been equally stationary in their manners, habits, and opinions, in everything but their numbers and their happiness; and, although existing, for more than six generations, in contact with a civilized people, they owe to them no one valuable improvement in the arts, nor a single principle which can restrain their passions, or give hope to despondence, motive to exertion, or confidence to virtue.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
LESSON CLI. The Declaration of Independence.
1. WHEN in the epic fable of the first of Roman poets, the goddess mother of Æneas delivers to him the celestial armor, with which he is to triumph over his enemy, and to lay the foundations of imperial Rome, he is represented as gazing with intense but confused delight on the crested helmet, that vomits golden fires.
2. "His hands the fatal sword and corselet hold,
One keen with tempered steel, one stiff with gold.
For on that shield the heavenly smith had wrought the an ticipated history of Roman glory, from the days of Æneas down to the reign of Augustus Cæsar, contemporaneous with the poet himself.
3. Would it be an unlicensed trespass of the imagination to conceive, that on the night preceding that thirtieth of April, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, when from the balcony of your city hall, the chancellor of the State of New York, administered to George Washington the solemn oath, faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States, and to the best of his ability, to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States, that, in the visions of the night, the guardian angel of the father of our country had appeared before him, in the venerated form of his mother, and, to cheer and encourage him in the performance of the momentous and solemn duties that he was about to assume, had delivered to him a suit of celestial armor, a helmet, consisting of the principles of piety, of justice, of honor, of benevolence, with which, from his earliest infancy, he had hitherto walked through life, in the presence of all his brethren, a spear, studded with the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence, a sword, the same with which he had led the armies of his country through the war of freedom, to the summit of the triumphal arch of independence, corselet and cuishes of long experience and habitual inter
course in peace and war with the world of mankind, his contemporaries of the human race, in all their stages of civilization, and, last of all, the Constitution of the United States, a SHIELD embossed by heavenly hands, with the future history of his country.
4. Yes, gentlemen, on that shield, the Constitution of the United States, was sculptured (by forms unseen, and in characters then invisible to mortal eye,) the predestined and prophetic history of the one confederated people of the North American Union.
5. They had been the settlers of thirteen separate and distinct English colonies, along the margin of the shore of the North American continent; contiguously situated, but chartered by adventurers of characters variously diversified, including sectarians, religious and political, of all the classes which for the two preceding centuries had agitated and divided the people of the British Islands, - and with them were intermingled the descendants of Hollanders, Swedes, Germans, and French fugitives, from the persecution of the revoker of the Edict of Nantes.
6. In the bosom of this people, thus heterogeneously composed, there was burning, kindled at different furnaces, but all furnaces of affliction, one clear, steady flame of LIBERTY. Bold and daring enterprise, stubborn endurance of privation, unflinching intrepidity in facing danger, and inflexible adherence to conscientious principle, had steeled the energetic and unyielding hardihood of the characters of the primitive settlers of all these colonies. In a recent strife between two great European powers, the victorious combatant had been Britain.
7. She had conquered the provinces of France. She had expelled her rival totally from the continent over which, bounding herself by the Mississippi, she was thenceforth to hold divided empire only with Spain. She had acquired undisputed control over the Indian tribes, still tenanting the forests unexplored by the European man. She had established an uncontested monopoly of the commerce of all her colonies. But, forgetting all the warnings of preceding ages, forgetting the lessons written in the blood of her own children, through centuries of departed time, - she undertook to tax the people of the colonies without their consenter
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
8. Resistance, instantaneous, unconcerted, sympathetic, inflexible resistance, like an electric shock, startled and roused the people of all the English colonies on this continent. This was the first signal of the North American Union. The struggle was for chartered rights, for English liberties, for the cause of Algernon Sydney and John Hampden, for trial by jury, the Habeas Corpus, and Magna Charta.
9. But, the English lawyers had decided, that Parliament was omnipotent, and Parliament in their omnipotence, instead of trial by jury and the Habeas Corpus, erected admiralty courts in England to try Americans for offences charged against them as committed in America, instead of the privileges of Magna Charta, nullified the charter itself of Massachusetts Bay; shut up the port of Boston; sent armies and navies to keep the peace, and teach the colonies, that John Hampden was a rebel, and Algernon Sydney a traitor.
10. English liberties had failed them. From the omnipotence of Parliament the colonists appealed to the rights of men, and the omnipotence of the God of battles. Union! Union! was the instinctive and simultaneous cry throughout the land. Their Congress, assembled at Philadelphia, once, twice, had petitioned the king; had remonstrated to Parliament; had addressed the people of Britain, for the rights of Englishmen, in vain. Fleets and armies, the blood of Lexington, and the fires of Charlestown and Falmouth, had been the answer petition, remonstrance, and address.
11. Independence was declared. The colonies were transformed into States. Their inhabitants were proclaimed to be one people, renouncing all allegiance to the British crown; all copatriotism with the British nation; all claims to chartered rights as Englishmen. Thenceforth their charter was the Declaration of Independence; their rights, the natural rights of mankind; their government, such as should be instituted by themselves, under the solemn, mutual pledges of perpetual union, founded on the self-evident. truths proclaimed in the Declaration.
LESSON CLII. History of America.
1. HAPPY was it for America, happy for the world, that a great name, a guardian genius, presided over her destinies in war, combining more than the virtues of the Roman Fabius and the Theban Epaminondas, and, compared with whom, the conquerors of the world, the Alexanders and Cæsars, are but pageants crimsoned with blood, and decked with the trophies of slaughter, objects equally of the wonder and the execration of mankind.
2. The hero of America was the conqueror only of his country's foes, and the hearts of his countrymen. To the one he was a terror, and in the other he gained ascendency, supreme, unrivalled, the tribute of admiring gratitude, the reward of a nation's love.
3. The deep interest, excited by the events of war, does not derive its intenseness from the numbers engaged. The army of Xerxes astounds us with its embodied millions; but it is only with Leonidas, and his three hundred Spartans, that the heart mingles its sympathies, and is agitated with thrilling hopes and fears. Kings pursue the game of war, as men play at chess. They marshal their hosts, battles are fought, and there are conquest and defeat. We may follow their fortunes with a languid curiosity, but with no intense feeling. The reason is obvious. We can be wrought upon only by vivid impressions, and what in some way touches the springs of the human affections.
4. The American armies, compared with the embattled legions of the old world, were small in numbers, but the soul of a whole people centred in the bosom of these more than Spartan bands, and vibrated quickly and keenly with every incident that befell them, whether in their feats of valor, or the acuteness of their sufferings. The country itself was one wide battle-field, in which, not merely the lifeblood, but the dearest interests, the sustaining hopes, of every individual were at stake.
5. It was not a war of pride and ambition between monarchs, in which an island or a province might be the award of success; it was a contest for personal liberty and civil rights, coming down in its principles to the very sanctuary of home and the fireside, and determining for every man